sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

In this file, cat is going to be female and referred to as her but this applies to male cats/dogs/fish/etc.

  • Any animal is afraid of entities (animals, humans, objects) bigger than itself and will be frightened if you display that you’re larger in size to her, hence she will react with aggression or fear at the sight of a larger creature. To avoid this, stood/crawl down to the cat’s level or somehow hide the majority of your body only exposing hands/fingers as the cat cannot distinguish that this body part is part of the larger whole (your finger is not attached to your entire body, as far as the feline is concerned.)
  • Stand up, open your shirt/jacket or somehow appear larger than the cat to invoke fear in her, but do so shortly before/during/after having a treat (cat food, catnip) with you. You want to override that a large creature is not a threat by override learned behavior that a larger animal is a threat by giving the feline a treat during or shortly after frightening her.
  • Let cat adapt to surroundings by reducing noise levels, ensuring air quality is good (avoid smoking tobacco or having open flames for better air quality.)
  • Let the cat roam around with nobody present. Any human or other pet (or smell of previously owned pet urine/fur/litter) will make the cat cautious about leaving her conform zone.
  • After a few days or weeks, if cat is left alone, she may begin to approach you on her own. This is a goos sign. Should the cat approach you, make no noise and no furtive movements. Simply put your hand out. This may frighten her at first, but keep your hand out and pet her behind the neck (where as a kitten, her mom would have carried her using her mouth.)
  • Try to use the same voice/tone with the cat while kneeling down. Use voice gently and if cat refused to acknowledge this call, let her be. Should she respond by peaking out or coming towards you, reward her with a treat or by petting her. Keep hand/arm as low as possible and let her approach it. As you would with a police officer, avoid furtive movements. This is beyond the scope of this article so I will include a short excerpt here:
    • The term Furtive Movement is vague and police use it often enough in any situation rendering it meaningless.
    • To rephrase this, do not make stealth/unexpected/quick/underhanded movements that may scare the cat. Your movements should be slow, visible to the observer (cat, officer, anyone) and predictable. An example of a furtive movement is quickly reaching into your pocket, having your hands up and doing a sly/quick move to touch your hands together or even your watch (reaching for something including your watch is a great way to get shot as the watch may actually be a specialized device (detonator, button to destroy device, etc.)
  • Let feline explore her [new] surroundings at her own pace. Use a single name/sound/voice with a consistent node to give her time ao acclimate
Posted in Anxiety, Bad Habits, General Tips at February 1st, 2015. No Comments.

There are no benefits to freaking out. None. Deep breath and a slow exhale.

Posted in Anxiety at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

Thinking about doing something, but never actually going ahead and pursuing it is actually more common than you think. I’ve met very very few people (none I can think of off the top of my head) who will take an idea, no matter how simple or grand, or what the potential is, and then implement it. Some start, but most will lose hype in the idea within days if not a few weeks.

When we feel hyped about an idea we have (a new project, a business plan, etc), we feel the idea is brilliant, perfect, etc, and we feel determined to begin working. This hype never lasts however, no matter how brilliant the idea is in an objective sense. We eventually sober down and will easily begin pushing the idea further back on our todo list, if not completely disregarding it as being unfeasible or stupid. Every idea is stupid unless it works.

Being a Doer instead of a Thinker requires an excruciating amount of discipline. 99.9% of people can’t do it. Stop thinking you have a mental illness or any sort of problem, disadvantage or misfortune. You don’t even have a lack of discipline, if you’re comparing yours to the average person. Sure, Amphetamine might help, but it doesn’t mean you have ADD. Depression and anxiety can hinder progress and stop you from doing pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean not being depressed or anxious will necessarily mean you will begin knocking big projects off your list.

Understanding this may give you a more accurate picture of yourself and put you in a more positive mindset. You don’t want to be normal, you want to be exceptional. Suddenly, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you — instead, you have a drive to work beyond your limits and excel at what most people cannot – Doing things when you absolutely don’t feel like it. Skipping naps and other enjoyable things to get shit done.

Most people suffering with depression or anxiety never think about trying psychiatric drugs. Medications like Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, etc are something some of the most depressed people I know would never consider trying. Can you fix depression without meds? Of course. Keyword here is can as in it’s a possibility, but there’s nothing more futile than trying to fix depression on your own; Here’s why:

Depression makes you indifferent, unmotivated and mentally blocked. It disables you. When you’re depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything. In this state it’s nearly impossible to fix your sleep schedule, exercise regularly, get out and socialize, and do anything else you might try as a ‘natural alternative’ to hard pharmaceutical chemicals. How many people that refuse to take meds because they can fix depression “on their own” actually get anything done? Nearly all the ones I know have been doing… literally nothing for the past 5 years.

Most people shouldn’t take meds, but there’s a certain number of people who are disabled because of depression. They’ve been depressed for years, probably decades, and have no idea how bad their situation is, or how much potential (and time) they’re wasting. It’s only after you’ve experienced depression, gotten over it, and fell back into it, that you realize how evil and paralyzed depression can be. It pushes your attention inwards, forcing you to just sit and think, not about fixing a problem, but about how many problems you have. About all the should ofs and and how you could of been had you did this instead of that. All the things you missed out. The last thing on your mind in this state is to get up and do.. anything.

Some people can drive themselves out of the hole, but some people can’t. These people need a kick. Sometimes a life changing experience (a death, a major accident, an acid trip etc)  can be a strong enough kick to completely turn things around. But when that’s not possible, consider fixing your brain chemistry the modern way.

One reason people are against psychiatric medication is because they don’t believe the chemical imbalance theory. And that’s OK; It’s shaky and there are numerous other (some more plausible) theories centering around brain chemistry and external/psychological issues. But so what? That doesn’t mean medication doesn’t work. Food, exercise, alcohol, Cannabis, ‘shrooms, a hit to the head, and plenty of other things can alter your state of mind chemically. There’s nothing wrong with that. Psychiatric drugs work pretty damn well even if you’re not depressed. The goal is to get you out of the loop you’re in and back on track. Drugs don’t need to be taken permanently, but in most cases, doing so isn’t even harmful. It’s normal to feel like eating natural foods is safe, while taking synthetic drugs isn’t, but there’s no logic behind this. It’s just something people believe instinctively and never bothered questioning.

Another reason people might be against meds is the cost. Pills are expensive. The cost of 1 year’s supply of some medications might be more expensive than taking an organic chemistry course and buying the equipment and precursors to synthesize the drugs yourself. Even some generic meds go for hundreds a month. Doctor visits are also pricey. Truth it: whether you’re unemployed, freelancing, 15 or 25 or 55 years old, you need insurance if you’re living in the United States. And nearly every plan (Medicaid too) covers antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Hell, Walmart has $4 generics. Point is, the cost isn’t an excuse. Most of us don’t mind paying $200-300 a month for gas, we do it because it’s a necessity, or it’s just convenient. When you’re depressed, you’ll end up failing all your $700 courses anyway, you won’t be able to work, and you’ll be spending money constantly on other health related problems stemming from the depression. Pay on credit. If you can’t make a few hundred dollars a month (those that have to), don’t you think you certainly need help in one form or another? See it as a necessity. There’s help if you seek it but unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll seek anything if you’re depressed. You need to make the first move. Take intiative. Do instead of think.

Another common excuse for not trying drugs is the negative stigma attached with having a mental illness diagnosis on your permanent health records. It’s a valid excuse (if you’re a paranoid schizophrenic), but ultimately it doesn’t make any sense. Nobody is going to see your records, and if they do, who cares? Who cares if you don’t get hired at some shitty firm just because the employer thinks you’re weak because you’re depressed? You’d be surprised how many people you find healthy, active and happy have a slew of mental disorders on their papers. It’s fine. It’s probably stylish. Either that or spend 10 years brooding around in your room living your entire life in your head and hoping things will get better on their own eventually – basically what depression is like.

I remember reading mental illness is usually diagnosed after 4-8 years. Way too much time to waste; To spend sitting around doing nothing. Get medicated. It rocks. And for those that still refuse to, make a note of how you’re situation is now, and then go over that note 5 years from now, and then take meds. I have a friend who’s depressed. He’s talented, but nearly all his potential is going to waste. He has been literally taking the same courses every semester for the past few years (fails them), and is always on a pattern of being social, then blocking everybody out, closing off communication for a few weeks/months, and going back into a major depression. It’s only getting worse, as all his friend’s graduate, and he beats himself up over wasting half a decade – he has no memories of the past 5 years because he’s been doing nothing.

There’s nothing worse than sitting around reading all the negative side effects of antidepressants. There’s a lot. Nobody doubts this, but you’re naturally looking for reasons you could use to justify not trying them. There’s nothing scarier than reading the negative effects of any drug you’re thinking about taking, even if you’ve been taking it for years with no problem. Sad thing is, depression itself is worse than 99% of the side effects you might (but probably won’t) experience. Just because you read a forum post with 200 comments saying “didn’t work for me!,” “made me a zombie” etc, doesn’t mean you will have the same experience. The people the drugs worked for are unlikely to be sitting around reading about the drugs anyway. And the people with bad experiences most likely didn’t give the drugs a chance. Took them for a week, had a headache and quit.

Many people who are depressed might have fantasies of running away, starting over, going to live in places like Tibet, “nature,” etc. This is common and many people suffering from mental illness have this. It’s considered a symptom. Give it a try – it won’t work. You’ll feel depressed where ever you go because your brain chemistry is broken. The brain is a physical thing. It’s very complicated, and there’s no guarantee it’s perfect. Your arms aren’t the same size, your face isn’t perfectly symmetrical, and your brain isn’t 100% perfect – and certainly not performing at its peak. This isn’t that big of a deal, and it’s best if you fix it and move on instead of dwelling on what you can’t change.

Not everybody who’s depressed needs medication. In fact, most don’t. This argument is for those who are unable to get out of the hole they’re getting themselves into. Finding justifications for their problems by blaming society and the government. Your life is in your hands and it’s up to you get up and fix it. If you feel medication isn’t right for you, then don’t bother trying it, but try something. Don’t just sit there thinking problems get fixed on their own. I’m all for the “I’ll just ignore it and eventually it’ll fix itself” solution, and that works for many things, but not for mental illness. It’s easy to hope your brain can magically fix itself, but half a decade of depression should be a big clear signal that it can’t. No matter how much the man with no arms believes he can become a pro boxer, it won’t happen.

The evil thing about depression is that it poisons your logic. We can justify anything to ourselves. Getting over depression first requires getting over the idea that you’re mentally capable of fixing yourself. Admit to yourself that your brain is temporarily out of order, and currently unable to form logic that fits the framework of a (mentally) healthy person. Outsource all your thinking and opinion forming to somebody who’s trained enough for the job. Don’t become a helpless zombie. Just accept the fact that you need help.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Drugs, mental illness, Rants at March 16th, 2009. 1 Comment.

The TEA Form Exercise is a great way of getting rid of negative thinking patterns. It is a simple technique founded and documented by Sam Obitz in his book Been There, Done That? Do This!

Unfortunately, the technique doesn’t seem to be documented very well outside his book, and his book is only available from its main site. I feel that many people can benefit from this technique, but I also know that a lot of people aren’t willing to buy the book. This thread will serve as a comprehensive guide on the TEA Form Exercise.

It takes a few months for the new more objective thinking to take hold and that’s when the benefits really started to grow for me. I got glimpses of them working early on but they seem pick up speed when they have more in your brain to attach to. It was eerily cool to be in situations that had always caused me great anxiety and to suddenly realize that I wasn’t freaking out at all. It was like an out of body experience and eventually I realized, that was what it was like to be for most people and how it felt to get out of your head and live in the moment. I think if you keep TEA forming you will soon have that same experience. The best advice I received and can give is that once you start to feel better keep doing them! It took years to get the bad habits that cause the anxiety and those habits won’t go away without a fight. I notice when I stop doing them for extended periods the anxiety slowly begins to creep back in.

THEORY

A lot of our thoughts, worries and ideas are based on exaggeration, misconception and just plain false info. We make judgments and decisions based on these erroneous ideas, and most of our anxiety is unfounded — baseless. If we can analyze this information logically, from an outside point of view, then we can change our thinking habits by replacing them with positive thoughts based on logic.

The TEA Form is a basic exercise designed to do just that. It is a way of countering your spontaneous ideas by looking at them from a distance to evaluate their basis and locate fallacies.The beauty of the TEA form lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t require anything you don’t already have, and can be done anywhere, anytime.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

You only need paper and a pen.

You may substitute digitally, but a desktop/laptop isn’t a good idea. A Blackberry or any other PDA may be used, but I recommend starting out just using paper or a little pocket-sized notebook and a pen.

The basic idea is to be able to jot down notes somewhere permanent. You will be creating a database of thoughts that you will need to refer back to from time to time, so the portability of what you’re using should be taken into account.

I use a little pocket-sized notebook and a pen. I take these everywhere I go.

BASICS

The exercise involves jotting down one’s thought or idea, followed by what thought patterns or thinking fallacies this idea is based on. An example of a negative or illogical thought pattern is globalization (forming an opinion about something in general, based on one isolated incident), or ignoring the positive (downplaying the good and exaggerating the bad). Don’t worry about what all the thought patterns are or what they mean just yet, as they will be explained in more detail below.

A thought can have many fallacies, and all that apply should be listed. Following this, one looks at the thought again and begins to use logic to deconstruct it to its basic core, which will be one or all of the fallacies listed.

This sounds complicated, and might not sound practical enough to do for all or more of your negative thoughts during the day, but it’s very simple in practice. There will be a few examples given below.

FORMAT

Sam Obitz recommends having three columns on a paper, designated for (left to right) negative thought, fallacies, and positive/logical argument against the negative thought. This works great on standard sized paper, but not so well digitally or on pocket sized notebooks.

It’s really up to you how you decide to format this, but it just needs to be easy to read, otherwise you’ll be unlikely to add or refer back to it. I like to just have 3 labels followed by some space, for each idea. Here’s an example. I come home and see my houseplant on the floor and the cat just staring at me. Here’s what might go through my mind:

THOUGHT: F’ing mess. Why would I keep the plant there? I’m dumb. I just cleaned the carpet. I hate cats. what a waste of time.. I just spent all day working and now I’m stuck cleaning this shit up.
RULES: Naming, blowing things out of proportion, emotional blocking.
LOGIC: I shouldn’t have placed the plant I knew my cat liked, at the edge of a table. Shit happens. I’ll vacuum it, no biggie. It won’t take more than a few minutes to clean up and it won’t happen again.

etc..

The thought is something that happened, usually something I’m thinking which is negative, either causing stress or just wasting my time. The rules are a list of all the silly errors in the logic of my thought. Blowing things out of proportion, for example, means that my thought is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Naming is putting labels on yourself (“I’m dumb”) or others. The labels really don’t do anything except cause stress.

NEGATIVE THINKING RULES

Jump to conclusions: Overestimating the likelihood and severity of a negative event. Your thought is unrealistic and much worse than what ends up happening (sometimes nothing even happens).

Blowing things out of proportion: Taking a small problem (that when examined logically, isn’t the end of the world) and exaggerating it or making it catastrophic. “If I fail this test. My life is over.”

Extreme thinking: Seeing things as either good or bad; No middle ground or compromise. Common with perfectionism. Example: “I am late for class. No point in going now.”

Globalising: Using one instance of an event as proof or evidence for a general, universal thought. “I got that one wrong. I’m stupid.” or “Whoa, I almost fell. God, I’m so clumsy.”

Emotional blocking:
Giving your emotions more importance than facts or reality. Thoughts are not facts. – Sam Obitz. Example: You think, “I don’t feel like going to class,” so you don’t.

Reality filter: Your thought focuses on one small detail, with no regard for the big picture.

Ignoring the positive: A grim view; Emphasizing the negative, while de-emphasizing the positive. “I got lucky, and 2nd place isn’t even good. I should have been 1st. I suck.”

Omnipotence error: Thinking you are responsible for events outside your control. This is sometimes hard to become aware of until you notice other people doing it. Sometimes shit happens.

Counterproductive motivation: Using coercion on yourself or others; Doesn’t work and almost always does harm in some way, even if the intentions are good. Examples: “I NEED to learn this!” or “He needs to be more responsible.” (Also see Wikipedia → ‘coercion’)

Naming: Labeling yourself or others. This just increases stress and weakens your judgment, and the labels are wrong. It also serves no real purpose. Examples: “I’m retarded” or “that asshole can’t drive!”

EXAMPLES

.. TODO ..

CHEAT SHEETS / TOOLS

The following is a pocket sized cheat sheet I created that you may print out and carry around with you. It assumes that you know what the rules mean, as it only lists a general one line about each one. Remember that these aren’t the only rules, and you may add your own as you see fit. The important thing is being able to quickly determine what the flaw in your thinking is and move on.

.. TODO: Need to upload this ..

This is a draft.

Posted in Anxiety, Bad Habits, Confidence, tea-form at November 27th, 2008. 2 Comments.